An exec explains why Google Cloud is making a 'massive investment' in its partners and aims to have them involved in 100% of its new deals as it takes on Microsoft and Amazon


Google Cloud can't compete against Microsoft and Amazon alone, so its investing heavily in partners to help it win over customers, with the ambitious goal of involving them in 100% of its new deals, according to an exec. 

Partners help companies resell their services and support customers, and rivals Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services have long made partner networks a major part of their business. 

Google Cloud's partner network is still relatively new, but the firm has been making a "massive investment" in partners worldwide, says Carolee Gearhart, vice president of worldwide channel sales at Google Cloud. It aims to have 100% of its customer deals involve partners in the near future.  

"The goal is, as we think about it: We want to have partners involved in every way we possibly can," Gearhart told Business Insider.

According to a report from IDC, partner revenue from Google Cloud opportunities will more than triple by 2025. And currently, partners are growing their Google Cloud businesses at a rate of 35% year-over-year, and one in five of them are even growing at over 75% year-over-year. 

"Partners are embracing this growth opportunity and are able to build a healthier long term business around us with that type of acceleration," Gearhart said.

A strong partner program can help Google Cloud compete against Microsoft and AWS

Having an active partner network can give cloud providers a leg up, as partners provide services like reselling, IT services, business services, support, and add-ons for software and hardware. AWS's head of worldwide channel and alliances, Doug Yeum, previously told Business Insider that the firm's seven-year-old partner network helps customers get access to cutting-edge new technologies. 

As for Microsoft, it has a decades-old network of partners, and says that in the two-plus years since it introduced its partner co-sell program it generated $9.5 billion in annual contracted partner revenue. It also claims that 95% of its commercial revenue flows through partners.

Google Cloud still has some catching up to do when it comes to competing against Microsoft and AWS. According to Gartner, AWS leads the cloud market with 45% market share, while Microsoft has 17.9%, and Google Cloud only has 5.3%. 

And at its most recent earnings, Google Cloud announced it generated over $3 billion in revenue in Q2. That's up 43% from the same period of last year, but it's still far behind its competitors. While it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, AWS reported quarterly revenue of $10.81 billion.

Google Cloud is investing 'aggressively' in its partner program

Already, Google Cloud partners' businesses are growing. IDC expects that Google Cloud partners worldwide generate $5.32 in revenue through their own products and services for every $1 of Google Cloud products sold. This will increase to $7.54 by 2025, the study says. And over the next six years, net new partner revenue will reach $341 billion, the report says. 

IDC even found that Google Cloud partner revenue is growing faster than Google Cloud's own revenue.

"We have accelerated a lot of the investment by being on the ground, close to customers," Gearhart said.

Google Cloud has also been making changes in its partner program. Earlier this year, Google Cloud invited partners to its internal sales conference for the first time, giving them the opportunity to be more involved in the sales process. It also established partner advisory boards and allows partners to share leads with each other.

Besides that, Google Cloud is "aggressively" increasing its specializations for partners and plans to create new incentives, Gearhart says. For example, it provides both free and extended training specific to partners to help them learn about Google products to sell better to customers. 

Read more: Google Cloud partners explain all the ways that the search giant is getting more flexible, from letting customers reallocate their cloud resources to helping developers pay for their own sales and marketing pushes

"How do we make sure we get information to people quickly and have people address the more complex issues?" Gearhart said. "What you're seeing is partners are really able to meet the movement with differentiated value services. That's really driving the multiple acceleration you see referenced in the study."

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